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Kings Blow 5-2 Lead, Lose at Detroit : Hockey: They suffer third consecutive loss on trip, which ends tonight in Minnesota.


DETROIT — You say your hockey club is going through rough times?

You can't buy a victory?

What do you do?

Call the Kings.

They went to Detroit Wednesday night, where they did wonders for a Red Wing club languishing at the bottom of the Norris Division.

Against the Kings, Detroit (21-30-7) looked like a Stanley Cup champion. The Red Wings scored three third-period goals, the last completing a hat trick by Steve Yzerman, to beat the Kings, 6-5, before a sellout crowd of 19,875 at Joe Louis Arena .

It was the Kings' fourth consecutive loss, third on this trip. In the last three, they have been unable to hold a lead in the final period.

In Pittsburgh, they gave up four third-period goals. In Toronto, it was three.

Over the past four games, they have been outscored, 12-2, in the final period and have given up a total of 23 goals.

"You have a choice," said co-interim coach Cap Raeder. "You can sit and feel sorry for yourself, or you can get up off your rear end and say, 'Let's go.' This is no time to feel sorry for yourself."

The winning goal came with 37 seconds to play after King defenseman Larry Robinson lost the puck to Daniel Shank.

"I looked up," Robinson said, "and one of their players pinched down and took the puck away from me. Maybe I shouldn't have been going down, but that's all we've been doing, second-guessing ourselves."

Shank slid the puck to Yzerman, who took one stride and shot from about 15 feet.

"No one had swept the puck out," Yzerman said. "I was behind the play." He scored by punching the puck through on the short side, past goalie Ron Scott.

"I wasn't really aiming there," Yzerman said. "I just sort of shot it."

It was his 45th goal of the season.

Yzerman's first goal, coming on a power play, tied the score in the first period after the Kings' Tomas Sandstrom scored his 24th goal of the season.

The Kings, 4-13-2 in 1990, looked as if they would finally have an easy night against a club they had beaten six consecutive times, outscoring them, 36-13, in the last five.

The Kings' Wayne Gretzky scored twice, ending a slump that had seen him score one goal in six games.

His 30th of the season gave the Kings a 2-1 lead. Lee Norwood tied the score with his eighth goal to close out the first period, but then Dave Taylor (11th goal), Steve Duchesne (16th) and Gretzky again pushed the Kings into a 5-2 lead.

It could have been more. The Kings were zero of five on the power play, making them zero of 10 in their past two games.

And they failed to score on a two-man advantage that lasted 1:03.

They were still ahead, 5-2, with a minute left in the second period, but Gretzky lost the puck. Yzerman got two shots, the second going in.

Then came another third-period collapse. Shawn Burr scored his 19th goal at 5:39 to make the score 5-4.

Then, Sheldon Kennedy picked off Robinson's attempt to clear the puck from the side of the net. Kennedy passed to Gerard Gallant in the slot. Gallant responded with his 28th goal at 9:12 to tie the score.

Sandstrom had two assists and Gretzky one to give them each three points, but both players were more concerned with other numbers, namely 24-28-6, the Kings' record.

"I wish I had the answers," Robinson said. "It's just very discouraging. Guys are working their rear ends off, but everything that can and will go wrong has."

The good news is, the Kings have only one game left on their trip, tonight in Minnesota.

The bad news is, they will be playing three periods.

King Notes

When informed the point-scoring streak of Pittsburgh Penguin Mario Lemieux had ended at 46, five shy of his record, Wayne Gretzky said, "It would have been no problem if he had broken it." When informed Lemieux had left the ice because of pain in his back from a herniated disk, Gretzky added, "If he lost the streak because of an injury, that's really frustrating. Being able to play physically, that's what you have to do."

A decision is expected Tuesday on the availability of Coach Tom Webster. He has an inner-ear injury, suffered when he fell in the shower in Edmonton Jan. 26. It's the same type of injury that forced him to resign as coach of the New York Rangers in 1986. Surgery corrected the original problem. Should surgery again be required, Webster would probably be unable to return this season. Would owner Bruce McNall continue the present setup, with assistant coaches Cap Raeder and Rick Wilson running the club? "That would probably be the best thing to do," McNall said. "But I have to talk to Rogie (Vachon, general manager) and to the two assistants to see if they feel comfortable with this setup." McNall ruled out the possibility of replacing Webster. "We'll hear what the doctors have to say and go from there, but in any and all cases, firing him is not an option"

The NHL summoned Winnipeg Jet center Laurie Boschman to a hearing today because of a high-sticking incident in a game Feb. 8 at the Forum. "I'm not surprised they're having one," Boschman said. "I guess it looks pretty bad in the films." Boschman was ejected after coming up behind Tomas Sandstrom in the third period and running his stick over Sandstrom's helmet shield and into his face. . . . Both Mikael Lindholm and rookie goalie Robb Stauber have been sent to the team's minor league team in New Haven.

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